8 Causes of Breast Pain in Men

Breast pain in men should not be ignored. Although it is not a common occurrence and is almost always due to temporary causes, it could also be the sign of a condition that warrants medical treatment.
8 Causes of Breast Pain in Men

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 18 June, 2022

Breast pain in men is a topic that isn’t talked about very much. There are even people who are unaware of the existence of this condition. The good thing is that it usually doesn’t mean anything serious. Even so, it’s not a symptom that should be overlooked.

Males have much less breast tissue than females. Because of this, breast pain has a lower incidence. And although it’s not common, it’s also a possible sign of breast cancer.

It’s important to note that breast pain in men is sometimes confused with chest muscle discomfort. However, both should be observed, because while it may be a passing discomfort, sometimes it’s a sign of something more serious.

The main causes of breast pain in men

The causes of breast pain in men are usually benign. That doesn’t mean that they should be ignored or that they don’t require medical attention.

If the pain is persistent, very intense, or accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to consult a professional.

1. Injuries

Injuries are the main cause of breast pain in men. Accidentally or while exercising, you may receive a blow to the chest and this causes discomfort. The severity will depend on the intensity and characteristics of the trauma.

In these cases, it’s best to apply a cold compress to the affected area. If the pain does not subside or is so intense that it prevents daily activities, it’s advisable to seek medical attention.

Dolor en la mama en un hombre.

Sports practice can cause injuries to the thoracic area.

2. Runner’s nipple

The name runner’s nipple is given to a condition that’s caused by the skin rubbing against the shirt when jogging or running for a considerable time. The effect of this is an irritation of the nipples that can even bleed.

It’s best to wear a tight-fitting or close-fitting T-shirt if you’re going to run for several hours. This prevents friction and protects the nipples. You can also put an adhesive on this area when exercising.

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3. Mastitis

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breasts. It causes symptoms such as pain, redness, and swelling.

If accompanied by infection, there will also be fever and chills. It’s not common in males.

It’s one of the situations in which it’s essential to consult a doctor. Treatment with drugs, especially antibiotics, will most likely be required.

4. Breast pain in men: Breast cysts

The characteristic symptom of a breast cyst is the presence of a mass or lump in the area. If you press around it, you feel pain. The likelihood of this developing into breast cancer is very low.

Therefore, it’s best to consult your doctor for an evaluation of the situation. Especially if the lump increases in size, there is itching, and fluid is released from the nipples. A biopsy may be indicated.

5. Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is a condition in which the breasts grow and appear larger than normal. It’s caused by an increase in breast tissue and may occur in one or both breasts. It often includes the presence of a small lump under the nipple.

It’s estimated that this condition affects 50% of boys during puberty. It’s usually accompanied by breast pain in males and should be treated by a physician.

Other causes include the following:

  • Renal insufficiency
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Cancer chemotherapy
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Radiation therapy for testicular cancer
  • Side effects of some medications
  • Exposure to estrogenic or anabolic steroid hormones

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6. Breast pain in men: Fibroadenoma

Fibroadenoma is a benign tumor of the breast. It doesn’t develop into cancer and very rarely occurs in men.

However, the presence of this condition slightly increases the chances of breast cancer in the future. This condition should be seen and treated by a physician early.

7. Breast cancer

Cancer only causes breast pain in men when it is very advanced. It’s also common for the breast to appear reddened, swollen, and warmer than normal.

Only 1% of all breast cancers in the world correspond to men. Even so, due to the seriousness, it’s very important to be aware of any lump that appears in the area and to consult a doctor.

8. Other causes

Excessive consumption of alcohol, marijuana, or heroin can cause certain liver conditions that produce breast pain in men. Something similar happens when using products with lavender oil or tea tree oil, although for different reasons.

breast pain in men
The increase in breast size in men is due to hormonal causes and appears very frequently at puberty.

The importance of breast self-examination in men

It’s advisable to perform a self-examination when breast pain appears in men. This is even more relevant if there are cases of breast cancer in the family or if you’re taking medications that cause hormonal changes.

Breast cancer is very rare in men. However, when there is pain or another unusual symptom, self-examination is a good idea. The chances of treatment are greatly improved with early detection.

Overall, the simplest way to do this self-examination is as follows:

  1. Lie down and place a small pillow under the left shoulder while that same arm is placed under your head.
  2. With the pads of the three middle fingers of the right hand. make small circles around the breast and armpits.
  3. Press first lightly, then a little harder, and then very deeply. The goal is to detect any lumps.
  4. Repeat these same actions, then on the right side and using the left hand.

When to see a doctor about breast pain in men?

In principle, breast pain in men should subside with the use of a cold compress or by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. If this doesn’t occur and there are other symptoms, such as redness or swelling, it’s a good idea to see a doctor.

Breast pain in men that doesn’t go away by itself may be associated with an infection or other health condition that requires specialized treatment. That’s why it shouldn’t be ignored. Any type of mass that appears in that area is a reason for consultation.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.